NWT Chief Public Health Officer declares measles outbreak in Inuvik after 2nd case

Photo courtesy of town of Inuvik

The Chief Public Health Officer for the Northwest Territories has declared a measles outbreak in Inuvik.

Dr. Kami Kandola’s declaration follows a second person in Inuvik being diagnosed with measles, showing symptoms on February 28th.

According to a news release from the Department of Health and Social Services, the infectious period is identified as February 25th to March 5th.

This brings the number of individuals with measles in the NWT to two, both in Inuvik.

It’s possible that more individuals who are not immune may develop measles.

Currently, the health officer feels the timeframe for the increased risk of another individual developing measles extends to approximately March 26th.

The department states that Individuals are likely immune to measles if they:

• were born before 1970;

• were born after 1970 and 18 years of age and older with one documented dose of measles vaccine; or

• are currently between 12 months to 18 years of age with two documented doses of measles vaccine.

If you are not sure if you or your child are adequately immunized, you will need to book an appointment with your local public health unit.

If you are in Inuvik, please call 867-777-7246.

At this time we do not expect other individuals outside of Inuvik to develop measles.

Susceptible individuals who are exposed should monitor for the following symptoms, which appear 7 to 21 days after exposure:

• Fever • Cough • Runny nose • Red eyes • Rash starting on the face and spreading to the chest.

If you develop symptoms, remain at home and call your health care provider immediately. Calling ahead ensures health facilities can take precautions to prevent transmission of measles to others.

Possible Measles Exposure Locations

Anyone present at the following locations at the times indicated may have been exposed to measles:

Anyone present at the following locations at the times indicated may have been exposed to measles:

Date Time Location

February 16, 2019
11:00am– 3:00pm
Inuvik Regional Hospital, Emergency Department & X-ray Department

February 17, 2019
12:00pm– 3:30pm
Inuvik Regional Hospital, Emergency Department

February 18, 2019
10:30am– 2:00pm
Inuvik Regional Hospital, Emergency Department

February 19, 2019
12:30pm– 4:00pm
Inuvik Regional Hospital, Laboratory, and Cafeteria

February 25/26/27/28
7:45 am – 7:15 pm
Children’s First Day Care

Any non-immune individuals who are exposed to measles should immediately contact their local public health unit or health care provider to review their option of being immunized.
For more information on measles visit:
• https://www.hss.gov.nt.ca/en/services/measles

Public Immunization Recommendations in Response to Measles
The current measles outbreak in Inuvik illustrates the importance of getting the measles vaccine.
Our goals are to:
• protect the community from the increased risk of measles exposure in the coming weeks; • reduce the incidence of measles in the NWT in the long term; • protect individuals who cannot receive measles vaccine and are at high risk of severe outcomes from measles; • prevent transmission of measles in health care facilities; and • protect those who travel outside of the NWT.
NWT Immunization Schedule recommends that individuals born on or after 1970 should have 2 doses of measles vaccine. Measles vaccines are very safe and effective and provide almost 100% protection.
If you are not sure if you or your child were immunized, please book an appointment with your local public health unit or health centre to check your immunization records.
If you are an adult and can’t remember if you received any doses of the vaccine, we recommend you get at least one dose of the measles vaccine.
To protect those who cannot be vaccinated, please follow these simple rules:
• washing your hands often; • coughing and sneezing into the bend of your arm, not into your hand; • if you do get sick, stay home and call your local public health unit or health centre; and • get vaccinated.
Don’t bring back measles as your souvenir.
Travelling soon? Measles is still common in many areas of the world. It is important to be protected. Book an appointment with your local public health unit or health centre at least 6-8 weeks before you travel to see if the measles vaccine or other vaccines are recommended.
For more information about travel health and travel alerts go to: · https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/advisories

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